Volunteers, saplings make for successful day of service

By: Allison Miller, Special to The Placer Herald
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Saturday morning’s cool air could not diminish the enthusiasm of the more than 150 Rocklin citizens who turned out for the first Community Service Day at five Rocklin parks. By 8 a.m. people were gathering at Twin Oaks Park on Park Drive, enjoying a warm cup of coffee, a mini-muffin and an invigorating welcome from Mark Riemer, director of Community Services. “This is a great day. We’re glad you’re here and we’re glad you care about our beautiful city parks,” said Riemer. He offered the volunteers their choice of park service sites: 200 oak saplings to be planted at Johnson- Springview Park, mulching and raking at Lone Tree, Mansion Oaks and Sonora parks or the creation of a small oak grove at Twin Oaks. The volunteers came in all sizes and all ages. One especially enthusiastic group, headed for Sonora Park, included fourth-grade students, members of Christine Anderson’s class at Rock Creek Elementary. “My students have been waiting for this day. They enjoy learning about the environment and the benefits of oak trees,” Anderson said. Other volunteer groups included members of the South Placer Rotary Club and the Interact Club at Victory High School in Rocklin. Every volunteer received a T-shirt for their service, but it was evident from everyone that the motivation for giving up a Saturday morning was bigger than a free shirt. Liza Polyudova, a student at Rocklin High School, was one of the last to arrive and sign up. “I hope I’m not too late,” she said, “I really want to help plant.” She said the study of the environment is one of her favorite topics. The little oak saplings seemed proud of their role, as they bobbed in the breeze, very healthy with their shock of small leaves. The saplings measured about two feet, including root balls, and were carefully tended to by Rocklin’s Park and Recreation staff. “These oaks are about a year old,” explained Gerry Kennedy of Park and Recreation. “We began with acorns and have tended the tiny trees with this day in mind.” Kennedy offered a quick-learners class in tree planting to the volunteers who were interested in helping launch the small, new grove at Twin Oaks Park. His “Tree 101” primer was informative: dig a hole no deeper than the root ball, place the root ball in firm soil, mulch four inches around the tree and provide a little open space, without mulch, surrounding each tree. Oak trees do well in Rocklin’s climate and soil and the Twin Oaks oak grove will be stunning when it reaches maturity, he said. Funds for the day came from the city’s oak tree mitigation fund and other non-general fund revenue sources, including area businesses. The city received $1,000 in individual donations from Auburn Placer Disposal Services, PG &E, United Natural Foods and OMNI Means. Rocklin’s first Community Service Day is an activity that many cities adopt to promote community pride in projects that enhance community life. “We anticipate Rocklin will show up for Community Service Day because they want to make difference,” said Riemer in advance of Saturday morning. The anticipation proved true as 200 happy little oaks trees testify from their new homes in five Rocklin-area parks.